Ankle and shin injuries can become quite debilitating and cause long term complications if not treated properly. There are a number of muscles that originate in the lower leg and run alongside, in front of or behind the ankle joint to attach into the foot. There are also a large number of ligaments through the ankle joint to help keep it stable and supported.

The shin/lower leg area contains a number of muscles that all have a role to play in the gait cycle. These muscles are the main driving forces to allow you to put one foot in front of the other. 

In addition to the ankle joint, there is also a joint called the subtalar joint that sits just below the ankle. Injury to this joint can cause pain throughout the ankle joint itself, as it is often also injured during an ankle sprain. This may also restrict movement through the ankle joint as well. 

The ankle and gait cycle:

The ankle joint is what connects the lower leg to the foot and is extremely important throughout the entire gait cycle. It is an area that can greatly affect your ability to walk and can therefore contribute to a range of different conditions throughout the rest of the foot. The ankle moves predominantly in two directions: plantarflexion and dorsiflexion. These movements are crucial for everyday life, as well as ensuring your feet clear the ground when you are walking so that you don’t trip and fall over. Reasons as to why the ankle joint may not be functioning properly include an ankle sprain, tight calves or a tarsal coalition (fusion of bones). 

             

Our podiatrists commonly assess and treat the following conditions:

 

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  • What Causes Ankle Pain?
    The ankle joint, like the foot, is quite complex. It comprises of bones, ligaments and tendons, all of which can be injured in different ways. Pain in the ankle can be due to injury to the ligaments, weakness of the muscles running alongside the ankle, malalignment of the ankle joint or injury to the bones. Ankle pain can be experienced by anyone in the population, whether that be an elite sportsperson or someone who has rolled their ankle wearing high heels.
  • I think I've Sprained My Ankle, Should I See a Podiatrist?
    Yes! It is important to seek medical attention and see a podiatrist if you have injured your ankle. By having your injury accurately diagnosed, we are able to create a tailored treatment plan based on your symptoms and injury. Often, we will send you for scans to identify exactly which structures in your ankle have been damaged, which helps us determine the next course of action for you.
  • My Ankle is Sore but I haven't Injured it, Why?
    Ankle pain doesn't always equal ankle sprains! You may be experiencing pain in your ankle due to its structure and function. As mentioned above, the ankle joint is very complex and there are a lot of structures that can be causing your pain. This type of injury or pain is often treated quite differently to an ankle sprain and may involve treatments such as orthotic therapy to assist with the alignment of your foot and ankle.
  • How Does a Podiatrist Treat an Ankle Injury/Ankle Pain?
    This will depend on what the mechanism of injury was and what structures are affected. For example, we may treat an acute ankle sprain with bruising and swelling differently to ankle pain that is present due to osteoarthritis. We use a variety of methods to treat ankle pain, including:
    • Taping and bracing
    • Shockwave therapy
    • Dry needling
    • Orthotic therapy
    • Rehab/strengthening programs
    • Footwear modifications
    In severe ankle injuries, such as a broken ankle, we have moon boots available.
  • How Long Does it Take to Heal an Ankle Injury?
    This depends on the extent of the injury. In general, soft tissue can take roughly 4-6 weeks to heal, although this will depend on numerous factors including how many structures are damaged, how severely they are damaged and whether there is bruising and swelling present. Fractures or breaks within the ankle can take anywhere between 6-12 weeks to heal and this is also dependent on a variety of factors. It is important to note that everyone's injuries are different and recovery may be shorter or longer than what is considered the norm. All of these factors are also taken into account when prescribing your tailored management plan. The aim of rehabilitation is to assist with healing and prevent re-injury. With that in mind, we ensure that we take small, calculated steps in your recovery to ensure that you can get back to doing what you love safely as soon as possible!